Can your business afford a professional answering service? That’s a question many businesses like yours struggle with. As you learn more about the benefits of a live answering service, and the drawbacks of an internal automated phone system, you may find yourself asking a different question:
Can you afford not to have a live answering service as part of your business service offerings?
It’s a 24/7 Business World
In a world of 24/7 connections, your business is challenged with how to handle phone calls that come in after hours. In the customer’s mind, “after hours” doesn’t exist. Especially when your business provides service for things that can go wrong at night or on the weekends. Or even during a busy week when your staff is tied up and might miss an incoming call.
How does your business maintain a 24/7 presence for your customer phone calls? You have two options: an automated internal phone system or a professional live answering service. As you consider these two options, it will help for you to step into your customer’s shoes.
Option A: An Internal Phone System
Your customer needs to communicate with you after hours. Perhaps they need a repair or they have an emergency for which you provide service. How do they reach you?
If you depend on your internal phone system to handle these situations, here is what will happen.
Your customer will have to choose from a pre-recorded menu. They will have to wait while an automated system transfers them, often several times. Their call may even be dropped during the transfer.
Many customers have already had bad experiences with internal phone systems, so when a machine answers, they often assume the worst. They feel like they will never reach a real human, let alone someone who can solve their problem. They are frustrated from the first moment a machine takes their call. Their mind is already forming the words, “This company doesn’t care.”
In many cases, as soon as the customer hears an automated message or menu, they will hang up and call a different company for help. You have just lost their business.
If they do press on through your internal phone system, odds are they won’t do it a second time. Especially if they never succeed in talking to a live person and getting help.
Before long, unhappy people will start sharing that you have “poor customer service.” You might have the best customer service in the world. But they couldn’t get to you to find that out. Unfortunately people will believe those bad reviews without looking further.
When customers are funneled through a maze of automated messages and menus, it gives the appearance that no one is really available. That’s not the public face you want to portray. You have worked hard to build your business. You want customers to know you are really there for them when they need you most.
Option B: A Professional Answering Service
A professional answering service is an extension of your company, representing you to your customers at a time when they are looking to you for help.
Incoming calls will be answered live every time. Your customer will be thrilled. You are there for them. In their moment of distress, you are talking to them and listening to them with a human voice and ears. Already they see your company as a valuable service that really cares about them.
With a live answering service, your customer won’t have to navigate phone menus and automated messages. They won’t go through a maze of unanswered calls, wondering when they will be dropped from the system and if anyone is there in the first place.
Instead, your customer will be guided by a real person to the exact place where they can get the help they are looking for. The answering service will stay with your customer until they have the answers they need. Even when you are not in the office. Even when your staff is busy.
What will those customer reviews look like? “Best customer service ever.” “Real people that care about their customers.” “Always there when you need them.” “I love this company. Highly recommend.”
The Real Cost Is Customer Satisfaction
It’s a 24/7 business world, regardless of your operating hours or how busy your staff is. Customer perception is very important to your business success, and expectations are high for customer service. Those phone calls will come in whether you can answer them or not.
As you decide how best to handle those phone calls that come in after hours or during the busiest times of day, it is important to remember that customer satisfaction is a big part of the cost of your phone system.
With an internal automated phone system, the cost will be huge with a poor image of customer care and lost business. That is bad for business.
With a professional live answering service, you will experience the best returns in customer satisfaction. You will have peace of mind in knowing that your customers value your business 24/7. And the word will spread: “Excellent Customer Service.”